The number of COVID-positive patients in Riverside County hospitals dropped from 664 to 621, according to the latest state figures out Wednesday.

Of those patients, 124 were in intensive care, up from 116 reported Tuesday.

Meanwhile, local health officials said two deaths were retracted from the total count of COVID-19 deaths, leaving the county’s death toll at 6,005 since the pandemic began.

Fatalities are considered trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates, meaning some deaths may have actually occurred weeks ago, according to health officials.

The Riverside University Health System on Wednesday also reported 1,890 new cases of COVID-19. The aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded in the county since the pandemic began in March 2020 is 577,042.

The number of known active virus cases in the county was 120,259 on Wednesday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 577,042. Verified patient recoveries countywide are 450,778.

The RUHS retracted 64,797 recovered cases on Wednesday, significantly increasing the number of active cases.

State officials announced Monday that the indoor mask wearing requirement for vaccinated people will expire at the end of the day Feb. 15. Gov. Gavin Newsom said the move is the result of a 65% drop in the infection rate since the peak of the winter surge caused by the Omicron variant, as well as a stabilization in hospitalization numbers.

But he stressed that “unvaccinated people will still need to wear masks indoors.” The mask-wearing requirement will also remain in effect for everyone in select indoor locations, such as public transit centers, airports, schools, emergency shelters, health care facilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and long-term care and senior-care facilities.

Unvaccinated people will have to continue wearing masks in indoor settings such as retail stores, restaurants, theaters and government offices.

The change in state policy will affect counties that do not have local mandates of their own governing face coverings — such as Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties. Neighboring Los Angeles County has its own indoor mask- wearing mandate, and those rules will remain in place in that county for the time being.

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